Check Your Driving And Criminal Records
Trucking is one industry where a criminal record or a bad traffic record is really a hindrance to employment. In general a felony is the more serious, but even misdemeanor criminal charges, even if they were deferred, can potentially knock you out of any employment possibilities.
Alcohol or drug related charges, even if they are not related to driving, are also a big factor for most companies. This is because of the liability factor that they need to consider when hiring a driver. They may not prevent you from getting a CDL but you just won’t be considered by trucking companies when it comes to getting a job.
A person that has a history of criminal charges may or may not be able to get specific types of endorsements that may be required for some trucking jobs. For example, most types of felony offenses may be appealed and considered on an individual basis, but some are considered to permanently disqualify you from seeking a hazardous materials endorsement.
If you do have a criminal record or a history of traffic violations is it a good idea to talk to multiple trucking companies to see if you would be eligible for hire. There are several factors that the company will consider so don’t make any assumptions until you check.
For both safety as well as liability issues truckers have to meet specific health requirements. Some medical conditions can prevent you from obtaining a CDL or operating a motor vehicle carrier. Diabetes is one such condition but only if you require insulin in the injectable form. If you can control your blood sugar with oral medications and diet you are not going to be prevented from obtaining your CDL.
Blood pressure, current heart conditions, some vision problems and current surgeries or other serious types of medical conditions can prevent you from passing the required DOT medical test. Sleep apnea, if not fully controlled, will also be a disqualifying medical condition.
In addition to the medical test you will also have to complete a drug test. This screening tool will indicate the presence of several different types of illegal drugs. These include marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, PCP and opiates. Prescription drugs that contain these types of chemicals can also be discovered on the screen and can prevent you from passing or obtaining your CDL.
If you are prescribed certain medications to control diagnosed health issues you may also be ineligible for a CDL. Typically these include narcotics that may be prescribed for pain management, chronic health conditions, recovery from injury or surgery or for other issues.
Computers and Literacy
It is important that people applying for CDL jobs in the United States be able to read and write fluently in English. This is important since the trucker will be required to submit checklists, documents, records, log books and reports often in written form.
In addition many companies now use electronic log books and require all truckers to use email, text or SMS messaging programs as well as use computers, tablets or other devices to submit information. Having a working level knowledge of computer programs including word processing, spreadsheets and data management is a big asset for many companies. These skills are not hard to learn and an introduction to computers workshop or seminar is typically all that you will need to get up to speed.
Other important trainings to consider to boost your chances of being hired once you have your CDL include CPR and first aid training. Some companies will offer these in-house or you can always complete your certification through the Red Cross or other community health agency. The cost for these types of classes is typically very low as the purpose of the training is to get as many people competent in life-saving techniques as possible.